Omega in Action | Page 12 | Omega

Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Omega Receives New York State Environmental Excellence Award

2 years 10 months ago

Department of Environmental Conservation Recognizes Eight Innovators in Sustainability at the 10th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), received a NYS Environmental Excellence award on Tuesday at a ceremony cohosted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Price Chopper/The Golub Corporation. The award recognizes New York's environmental and conservation leaders, who are solving environmental challenges by using innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships.

“We are honored to be recognized by the state for our environmental stewardship and the development of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. Our goal is to help people better understand natural systems and how to live and work within them, so together we can build a truly regenerative future,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega.

Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

The DEC established the awards program in 2004 to recognize and give visibility to selected businesses, schools, municipalities, governments, and not-for-profit organizations achieving outstanding environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability. Since the program’s inception, the DEC has honored 52 award recipients. Winners have included entrepreneurs competing in global markets and schools empowering future environmental leaders. Municipalities have been awarded for investing in green infrastructure, implementing a cost-effective food waste composting program, and financing an energy efficiency retrofit program. Universities and school districts across New York State have been recognized for developing energy efficiency programs and engaging students and administrators in impressive sustainable practices. Small businesses have been honored for innovative and green technologies, such as a lighting manufacturer that demonstrated how innovative design does not necessarily translate to higher costs.

Omega’s commitment to sustainability also includes recycling, composting, and conservation, powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power, supporting sustainable agriculture and local business, and reducing greenhouse gases through shuttle services, ride sharing, and LiveNeutral™ options.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200  acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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Omega Participants Take the Experience Home

2 years 10 months ago

For more than 20 years, Omega has offered hope and healing to veterans and family members dealing with issues of post-traumatic stress, re-integration into society, and resilience in the face of unique challenges. Recently, Omega held two separate programs aimed at helping veterans heal from the wounds of war during the same autumn week.

The first was a 5-day certification program for yoga teachers, taught by Warriors At Ease cofounder, Robin Carnes, and Exalted Warrior Foundation founder, Annie Okerlin. Seventeen certified yoga teachers gathered at Omega to receive hands-on training based on the acclaimed Warriors At Ease training course. They addressed combat-related issues through yoga, and the art and science of teaching yoga in a military setting.

The second was a woman-only retreat for active duty military and veterans healing from military trauma. It was taught by Warriors At Ease cofounder, Col. (ret.) Pat Lillis, and veterans advocates—Maj. Susan Lynch and Col. Alison Ward. Twenty-two women attended to explore ways to face and release traumatic stress, and increase resilience.

During the course of the week, participants from both programs formed bonds through shared meals and quiet conversations outside the classroom. Program teachers and participants conspired on ways to stay in touch and support each other. The yoga teachers were eager to put into practice the new skills they had acquired, but in need of students to practice teaching with.

The women military and veterans were looking for ways to continue the healing process and take their Omega experience home with them. So they decided to pair up wherever it was geographically possible. Several matches were made, allowing the yoga teachers to offer a few free sessions in exchange for the opportunity to practice teaching—with the possibility of the students electing to hire the teachers long term if desired. In the instances where it was not geographically easy to pair people, the group turned to the Warriors at Ease network of trained teachers for assistance in facilitating matches. It has been a win-win situation.  

For more information visit Warriors At Ease

Learn more about Omega's work with veterans and other key initiatives

Bob Woodruff Foundation Helps Fund Programs for Women Veterans at Omega

2 years 11 months ago

We are proud to announce that Omega has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support an Omega retreat for women veterans dealing with combat stress and trauma. BWF works to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. Across the country, they find, fund, and shape innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families, and caregivers live and work. 

Receiving a grant from BWF is an honor that recognizes the dedication, focus, and effectiveness of Omega’s staff, volunteers, and supporters. As a grant recipient, Omega joins the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, a collaboration of top-tier programs and advocates working to help our heroes on the home front. 

Learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation

Learn more about Omega's Veterans Initiatives

Omega Hosts #femfuture Retreat

2 years 11 months ago

This October, Jamia Wilson, member of Omega's board of directors, and Vanessa Valenti, Omega faculty and cofounder of #femfuture, organized the #femfuture retreat at Omega's Rhinebeck, New York campus. #femfuture is "an experiment in movement-building that develops solutions for sustainability and impact in 21st century feminism." They commonly convene feminist bloggers, online organizers, writers, educators, and activists to collaborate and explore the present reality and future potential of the current feminist movement. 

The retreat at Omega was focused on self-care, reflection, and connection for feminist activists. More than 20 women from around the country were selected to attend, encompassing mothers, poets, journalists, and teachers. 

In attendance was Catherine Okafor, who has been looking for a way to continue her activism and connect with other feminists after the grassroots organizing she did in college. She wrote about her experience saying, "This was a blessing that fell from the sky as I'm no longer a college student but now a young professional trying to navigate through 'the real world.'"

Read Catherine Okafor's full story.

Learn more about #femfuture.

Learn more about the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

Gloria Steinem Awarded Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal

2 years 12 months ago

On October 13th Gloria Steinem, an Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) Advisory Council member, was one of six recipients of the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal. Recipients were celebrated for their work promoting social justice and human rights by the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center in Hyde Park, New York, where the Roosevelts lived for many years. 

Michele Bertran, OWLC Director, attended in support as Gloria was recognized as an “extraordinary social justice activist.” Gloria joyfully shared her plan to live a long life in continuation of her work as well as upholding the Eleanor Roosevelt legacy. Since its inception, 111 individuals and organizations have been honored, “who through their service and contributions to their communities and the world exemplify Mrs. Roosevelt’s commitment to human dignity, social justice, enlightened leadership, and human rights for all.” 

Learn more about the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony

Learn more about the Omega Women's Leadership Center

New Musical, Broadway or Bust, Dedicated to Omega

3 years 4 hours ago

Omega Arts Week faculty, Rosary O'Neill, has written a new musical, Broadway or Bust, that will debut at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College on November 13 and 14, 2013.

O'Neill developed the musical in collaboration with director Deborah Temple, and composer and concert guitarist David Temple. The husband and wife team met O'Neill when she was seeking a director to assist her in teaching Script Writing during Omega's annual Arts Week. The musical, written by Rosary O'Neill, will be directed by Deborah Temple, and features music and lyrics by David Temple. O'Neill has dedicated the musical to Omega. 

Broadway or Bust is about two lovestruck actors who audition for a musical and are confronted with questions they are afraid to answer and routines that lead them into questioning their lives. For tickets and more information please visit the box office.

Women Working for The World Invites Carla Goldstein to Speak at Upcoming Forum in Bogota, Colombia

3 years 1 week ago

Carla Goldstein, Omega’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC), has been invited to join an international delegation of influential women speaking at the first Women Working for the World forum. The forum was organized by Catalina Escobar Restrepo, president of the Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation, and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, and a member of the OWLC advisory council.

In addition to Carla, some of the confirmed speakers include U.S. Ambassador Nancy Rubin, Princess of Greece Tatiana Blatnik, Former First Lady of Panama Vivian de Torrijos, and many more.

The forum was designed to explore gender issues such as poverty; the impact of women in the global economy; social inclusion for sustainable social development; leadership and empowerment; as well as key issues on reproductive health and the effectiveness and sustainability of interventions to communities that are at-risk and require focused and immediate attention. 

Approximately 400 opinion leaders will attend, ranging from government and corporations to NGOs and media from Colombia, Panamá, Venezuela, and the United States.

Learn more about the Women Working for the World forum.

2nd Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award Goes to Scenic Hudson

3 years 2 weeks ago

Omega CEO, Robert "Skip" Backus presented the second annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award to Scenic Hudson on October 5, 2013, during the Omega Center for Sustainable Living Conference: Where We Go From Here. The award includes a $10,000 grant and an organizational development grant for a strategic planning retreat at Omega.

The largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, Scenic Hudson has preserved numerous sites, including Storm King Mountain, and has worked tirelessly for the protection and restoration of the Hudson River. Upon receiving the award, Ned Sullivan, executive director of Scenic Hudson, said, "We will take heart and inspiration from our partnership with Omega in our work for a sustainable Hudson Valley."

Learn more about Scenic Hudson

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaches Epidemic Levels Among Veterans

3 years 2 weeks ago

Omega Offers Alternative Treatment Options for Health-Care Professionals

RHINEBECK, NY – According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 percent of Iraqi War veterans, and 11 percent of those returning from the war in Afghanistan, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health issues among service members have reached a crisis level. The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have recognized the gravity of this epidemic and are now actively supporting mind-body modalities, from yoga to mindfulness practice, as a complement to traditional drug and talk therapies for veterans.

“The number of veterans suffering from PTSD is alarmingly high, and growing on a daily basis. Suicide, homelessness, drug use, and spousal abuse are just a few of the ways that PTSD affects veterans and their loved ones. For more than 20 years, Omega has provided programs to support the healing of veterans and affected family members,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer. “Our Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference helps provide new tools for treatment so more veterans can experience healing.”

Veterans, Trauma & Treatment is an unprecedented gathering of experts in resiliency, trauma, and the treatment of trauma for veterans using complementary and alternative medicine. Health-care professionals, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, and counselors working with veterans suffering with PTSD and their families are welcome.

The Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference begins on Friday, October 18 at 8:00 p.m., with an opening keynote by Tracy Gaudet, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, followed by a keynote from Dr. Peter Levine, whose international best seller, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, has been translated into twenty-two languages. Throughout the weekend, conference participants will explore the best ways to use mind-body modalities to treat veterans who suffer with trauma.

In addition to hearing keynote talks from ten expert presenters, participants can choose from a variety of workshops, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, adaptive yoga for traumatically injured service members, the Social Resilience Model for healing communities with trauma, and attachment-based family interventions. Each workshop and keynote presentation has distinct learning objectives for the participants. The conference will end with a keynote address by Col. Richard R. Petri, MD, the chief of Physical Medicine and Integrative Health Services at William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Omega welcomes anyone who seeks professional information on the mind-body modalities that the military is currently exploring. Continuing education credits are available.

For more details or to register, please visit or call 800.944.1001.

A limited number of media passes are available. Photography restrictions may apply. To apply for a media pass, visit

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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Carla Goldstein to Speak at Womensphere Global Summit

3 years 4 weeks ago

Carla Goldstein, cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega will speak at Columbia University in New York City on Monday, September 30th at the 6th annual Global Summit & Awards. The theme of this year’s event is “Creating the Future: Evolution + Revolution,” and brings together international leaders in education, business, policy, foundations and NGOs, entrepreneurship, and social innovation.  The speakers and delegates at the Summit are divided into nine councils, according to their topics of expertise. Carla Goldstein will be speaking about “The Future of Women & Girls.”

The Womensphere Foundation seeks to advance women’s leadership on a global level. During the Summit, speakers will address questions that are crucial to the progression of women as innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and key creators of the world’s future. Among the many ideas discussed, the Summit hopes to answer important questions about how participants can collaborate to create enlightened leadership and how global stakeholders can unite to create a world that is inclusive and sustainable, in which women play an active part.


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